Trading for True Heroes

By Terry Pettee

This article was originally published November 16, 2017

There was a time in my life when I was a trader.


I mostly traded in baseball cards and comic books.

Back in the day baseball was our passion as kids, not football.  I suppose because it took too many neighborhood kids to field two football teams.  Not only that, the differences in neighborhood kid’s ages and sizes made for lousy competition.  And I admit it, the runts like me, derived no pleasure in being tackled, knocked down and laid on by guys twice our size.

But baseball was different.  A determined runt who can catch, throw and hit could compete with the big kids.

When I reached my early teens, I was no longer a collector.  So, I gave my shoe-box full of player cards to a much younger neighborhood boy.  There was no trade involved.  He simply had the passion for collecting the ones I had.

The change came when my interests in stats and figures changed from baseball cards to girls, if you catch my meaning.  I need to clarify the latter.  I was not a collector, just an admirer.

My comic book collecting was a different matter.  My dad worked for the railroad when I was in short pants.  When he picked up his paycheck we would often head across the street from the Port Huron train station on Railroad Street to O’Neil’s Drug Store where each of us boys could buy a comic book for a dime.

During my infancy as a comic book collector I was in to Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.  As my tastes matured with age, I became an avid follower of the exploits of Superman and Batman.

Isn’t it silly that some in the comic book industry dare to pit Superman and Batman against each other in battle?  One punch from Superman and Batman would be splattered on the window shield of the international space station.  The only affect Batman would have by punching Superman is multiple broken bones, his own, not Superman’s.  After all, Superman is the Man of Steel.  Of course, there is the Kryptonite factor, but I need to save that thought for another time.

I was a frequent comic book trader.  Mostly, it was not-for-keeps trading.  It seemed liked a pretty smart policy back in the day.  My library was limited but my reading was extensive.

In my adult years comic books became valuable collector items.  As an adult, I asked my mom about the comic books my brothers and I collected.  She said she threw them out.  There were no longer any boys in the house to read them and they were beginning to smell musty.

It was a great loss.  Not in dollars and cents, but as a link to my childhood.

Kids still have heroes today.  Some are still athletes.  Some are still fantasy figures.  Some kids are still collectors too, I suppose.

I am not into collecting anymore.  If I were a collector of heroes and if I had unlimited ability to trade, I know exactly what I would do.

I would make trades in the National Football League.  I would make uniform trades not player team trades.

For those who take the knee, I would trade the football jersey for the uniform of a soldier, a sailor, a marine, an airman, a firefighter, an EMT or especially for the uniform of a law enforcement officer.  With a change in uniform social injustice would be eradicated, at least by the reckoning of the knee-takers.

Or would it?

The real super heroes of today, those standing for Truth, Justice and the American Way, are not physically invulnerable like Superman.  They have no secret identity.  Nor do they have the egos and arrogance of some NFL players.

The real heroes of today are the men and women doing their best to serve and protect our communities under very difficult and often dangerous circumstances.  They live in our neighborhoods, alongside us, because they do not have multi-million dollar a year contracts.

Today’s real superheroes wear military and public safety officer uniforms.  They never take a knee.  If I could, I would collect their cards for keeps.

No trades.

Never hidden away in a shoe-box on a shelf in my bedroom closet.

Forever on open display to avoid any musty smells.

Never maligned, always acclaimed as super heroes.


Terry Pettee is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University where his undergraduate study prepared him for a career in secondary education. Prior to attending EMU, he was Editor-In-Chief of the Erie Square Gazette while a student at the St. Clair County Community College. Between his community college and university years he was Marysville Editor of the St. Clair County Independent Press where he was a newspaper reporter and columnist. After a brief teaching stint his life’s journey led him into human resource and industrial relations management; a career spanning four decades. Now retired, Terry writes both Christian value based fiction and non-fiction for his own amusement, which is babble-speak for saying he has only a single published book to his credit.

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